A Word About Collaboration

Collaboration (as a whole class, in small groups, and with partners) is an important aspect of the inquiry process.  People naturally help one another when working together, and interaction can move learners beyond where they would have gone on their own. 

As learners interact, the teacher can circulate and monitor the class – listening in, asking questions, prompting thought, perceiving and diagnosing difficulties.  Instant mini-lessons for individuals or small groups can target specific problems, teach a specific skill, or correct a misconception.  The teacher’s time is used effectively, the students who are not experiencing difficulty stay on task, and the students who need direct instruction get it in a timely fashion.

In order for collaboration to be effective, students must be specifically taught the skills, attitudes and behaviours associated with group work.  Teachers must understand how to structure groups to make the members productive and accountable.  For more information on collaborative teaching and learning, access the  Teacher Tools THINK-it-Through portion of this model.


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